Title in succession: (next 12th)
Date created: 1728
Grant: Grand Master Manuel de
Granted To: Isidore Viani
Viani / Testaferrata / Scicluna (dormant )
Remainder to: his descendants in perpetuity; each holder of the title having the right to nominate a successor;
in default in absence of a male first born or male issue to the female first
born, members of the clergy are precluded.
Present Holder: Christiane Ramsay Scicluna
Abeyance: Passed into abeyance 1978, brought out in 1983 and in 1985 transferred
by decree of the Committee of Privileges. In 2002 was again vacant, was given to
Corinne in 2005 and became vacant in 2008.
In 2009 a sub-Committee setup to determine the new Title Holder.
Titles not recognised by the Royal 1878 Commission: Baron Testaferrata
This title was contested by three claimant holders, Baron Salvino, Falzon-Sant-Manduca
and Scicluna families.
decision was put to rest in 2005 by the Committee of Privileges.
On the death of Maria Ramsay in 2007, once again the title became vacant. A
legal issue ensued, where the Committee of Privileges appointed a sub-Committee
to look into the 3 claimants, namely the Testaferrata family, the Bugeja Viani
family and Christiane Ramsay Scicluna (daughter of Maria). See note below at end
There was a 'decisione secreta' of which the sub-committee made a final request
to the Committee which was accepted.
The barony of Tabria (Ta’Brija) was granted to the Barba family in
1315, Guerardo family in 1398, the Gatto family in 1407, del Carretto
family in 1408, Landolino de Noto in 1453.
As a fief it would have
either died out, due to lack of family members and be re-granted or be
sold as a fief.
The present holders of the Barony of Tabria
was granted to Isidore Viani in 1728, by the Grand Master Manuel de
Vilhena with the remainder to his descendants in perpetuity. Each holder
of the title having the right to nominate a successor , in default of
nomination, to the first born male descendant and in the absence of male
issue, to the first born female descendant.
The tower at Wied
Znuber was probably built during this period by a member of the Viani
family. This tower, in the area of Hal-Far, served as a place of refuge
for this family since the Palazzo Viani, also know as Palazzo Hal-Far, was
situated in the same district. The tower, the palace and the whole
district of Hal-Far were subsequently inherited by Baron Isidore
The entail of the 1st Baron Viani was established in favour
of the eldest son in the direct line. Failing this, it would pass to the
eldest male descendant in the female line. Failing this, it would pass to
the eldest male descendant in the female line. This primogeniture could
not be held by 'priest, deacons, sub-deacons, nuns, monks, imbeciles and
those incapable of contracting marriage'. The holder was, however, obliged
to retain the insignia and surname of the Viani family 'in addition to
that of his own family name'. If this was ignored the holder was to
forfeit the income for one year.
In 1728, the Baron of Tabria,
Isidore Viani, had been ennobled by the Grand Master Vilhena for 'service
rendered'. Less than six years later, the Baron was accused of embezzling,
from the Universita of Valletta, the large sum of 60,000 scudi. He was
tried, found guilty, and then imprisioned in the Castle of St Elmo. All
his gold, silver, furniture and paintings were confiscated, and most of
his property, excluding that which had entitled by his father, was
subsequently auctioned. Viani's three houses in Valletta were sold for
4,100 scudi, of which Grand Master Vilhena, who paid half for the family
casa in Strada Stretta. The Baron was subsequently sentenced to death, but
was later reprieved by Grand Master Vilhena, who accepted to disentail the
family primogeniture. Thus part of the money was refunded. The effect of
this misappropriation fell heavily on the family. Many of their properties
were sold by the Universita, others which had a high income, were retained
and their rents deposited in the treasury. In 1775, these properties were
again entailed, this time, by the Baron's son and daughters but 'in order
to repay the debt of their father' the income was still channeled into the
Unversita. The entail consisted of five groups of houses at Zurrieq,
Cospicua, and Vittoriosa, the Palace and territories of Hal-Far and the
cow-stalls, pig-sties, pigeon houses, stables, coach-houses and gardens,
the tower, hunting lodges, as well as all the citrus trees of Benhisa. In
addition, there were twenty one fields. The family residence at Paola,
Palazzo Viani, which had been built in the eighteen century was not
Isidore Viani of Italian Descent was succeeded by his
son Gio Batta, who left two daughters as Heiress. The eldest daughter died
without children, and the younger married the 2nd Marquis “
Giovanni Battista Viani, Baron di Tabria, died
without any male issue, and deciding which of his two daughter should
inherit his title. Under the terms of the original patent, the eldest
daughter, Francesca, should have received the title. But her sister Anna,
who married to Marquis Mario Testaferrata, contested the claim on the
pretext that her sister was not of sound mind. When the unfortunate
Francesca had recovered from her illness, she was persuaded to renounce
her title in favour of her nephew, Guiseppe, Anna's son. In 1784,
Francesca's petition to this effect was approved by Grand Master de Rohan
who invested Giuseppe Testaferrata Viani with the Barony di Tabria on the
22 October of that same year.
The younger Heiress’s eldest son
Guiseppe Testaferrata-Viani succeed to the Barony of Tabria as the 4th
Barony. He was also the Capitano della Verga of Malta, married the
daughter of the 5th Baron of San Marciano, siring several children, dying
The Marquis Mario Testaferrata had three sons, two of
whom, Lorenzo and Filippo, did nothing to enhance the family name.
Lorenzo, a cleric, fathered 'several children' by Angela Attard, the
daughter of the family coachman. Filippo, also a cleric, had 'bastard
sons' by one of the family maids, Vincenza Falanca. Eventually both
brothers married the mothers of their children, this nearly drove their
father completely mad. Fortunately for these noble cadets, as Lorenzo and
Filippo are described, the Marquis who was 'feeble-minded and scarcely
capable of managing his own affairs, was on even worse terms with his
eldest son, Giuseppe the Baron di Tabria. Resulting from all the bad
feelings towards the eldest son, Lorenzo was granted the prerogative of
the family benefices and also allowed, by his father, to buy the family
palazzo in Valletta, together with all its contents. On the other hand,
Filippo was their heir to the Castelletti entail. These actions appear
rather strange in view of the Marquis's former attitude towards his
younger sons, and would appear to bear out the above statement on his
mental state. This is even more astonishing since Mario, in his will, had
excluded all bastards, even though they may have been legitimised at law.
He appears, however to have, possible inadvertently, left a loophole by
withdrawing the exclusion in the case of those bastards legitimized by
subsequent marriage, provided that the marriage was not contracted with an
His son succeeded as the 5th Baron, Gilberto also
sometime Capitano della Verga, and his successor was Guiseppe, who became the
6th Baron, but died without issue.
The next successor
was by nomination to Giuseppe's sister’s younger son Rosario Luigi
Rosario was a member of the council of
Government of Malta, and died in 1935, succeeded by his daughter
Maria Violet succeeded as the 7th Baroness, and married
the Marquis John Scicluna (Papal Creation) and sired several children,
Maria Violet dying in 1955, succeeding by her younger son by act of
Patrick Scicluna succeeded as the 8th Baron,
who died without issue in 1978, where the title was succeeded by his brother
the Marquis Joe Scicluna, as the 9th Baron of Tabria after the title was
called out of abeyance in 1983.
In 1978, Patrick Scicluna, 8th.
Baron of Tabria died.
The Baron was unmarried and before his
death he had failed to nominate a successor.
therefore passed into abeyance for 5 years.
During this period of
abeyance, the Committee of Privileges considered various claims to the
The Committee eventually decided in favour of the
Baron’s elder brother, Joseph Scicluna (Marquis Scicluna) who succeeded to
the title on the 29th. September 1983.
therefore, became the 9th. Baron of Tabria.
On 14th. January,
1985, the 9th. Baron renounced his title and by means of an act of
nomination inter vivos, nominated a kinswoman, (the late) Lilianina Falzon
Sant Manduca (married name, Bugeja) to succeed him.
Committee of Privileges, having by now already ratified two acts of
nomination inter vivos, that is of Count Sant to his son John and
Marquis Jerome Depiro (at the time President of the Committee of
Privileges) in favour of his son Nicholas and Marquis Depiro. Despite of
course lacking the legal power to do
so, the Committee of Privileges could hardly fail to ratify a third!
since the then President of the Committee (Francis Sant Cassia) had
himself signed a similar act of nomination inter vivos a few weeks earlier
in favour of his son!
The Committee on 25th July 1985, not
surprisingly, ratified the act of nomination inter vivos and (the late)
Lilianina Bugeja succeeded as the 10th Baroness of
The 9th. Baron, Joseph Scicluna (Marquis
Scicluna) died on the 6th. June 1995.
We understand that he
confirmed the late Lilianina Bugeja as his successor in his last will and
testament; if this information is correct then the late Lilianina Bugeja
was undoubtedly the 10th Baroness of Tabria.
If he did not
nominate her to succeed him in his last will and testament, the succession
to the Barony of Tabria would be thrown wide open. The earlier instrument
of nomination, an act of nomination inter vivos, lacked the Sovereign’s
specific consent and was consequently totally null and
However, forgetting for the moment the 9th Baron’s
last will and testament, her succession could not legally have taken place
until the Baron’s death.
As we have seen above, even a
straightforward succession normally takes about one
Thus, the very earliest date upon on which the late
Lilianina Bugeja could have succeeded was June 1996
number of years, during the period 1985-1996, the late Lilianina Bugeja,
served on the Committee of Privileges, passing judgment on matters of
nobility, including the succession to titles.
The marquis , then nominate a distant
cousin, his kinswoman, as his heir to the Barony and renounced the title
in her favour in 1985.
The renunciation and nomination was
ratified by the committee of Privileges on the 25th July ,
Lilianina Falzon-Sant-Manduca (1940-2000), succeeded as the 10th
Baroness of Tabria, and is a descendant of the 2nd Baron of Tabria,
through the Marquisate Cassar-Desain.
The Baroness married to
a John Bugeja and had several children, died 13 March 2000, succeeded by
The 10th Baroness was very active for a number of years on the
Committee of Privileges until her sad and untimely death on 13th March
2000. Her son should have presumably been the 11th Baron.
Philip Falzon Sant Manduca, Baron Salvino Testaferrata and Corinne Ramsay
Scicluna all bid for the title of the Baron della Tabria.
In 2005 the Committee of Privileges voted in favour of Marie Corinne Ramsay Scicluna.
11th Baroness of Tabria, The Noble Marie Corinne Ramsay Scicluna
(1923-2007) Baroness decided in October 2007
Once again the following person placed their bid for the title: which
is to date Vacant (June 2008)
Philip Bugeja Falzon Sant Manduca, Martin
Testaferrata in the name of Baron Salvino Testaferrata and Christiane Ramsay
Scicluna. Who is going to be the next Baron or Baroness of Tabria, is anyone's
guess?.When so many inter vivos transfers
have been made, it simply does not make matters easier. But after a two year
legal issue, it was finally decided.
12th Baroness of Tabria, The Noble
Christiane Ramsay Scicluna, decided February 2010, with issue.
A Genealogical Account of the
Barons di Tabria
Gio Battista Viani, 2nd Baron di Tabria,
married 1733 to Maria Teresa Bonici
1. Francesca Viani, De Jure
Baroness di Tabria, dunm.
2. Anna Viani, married 1762 to Mario
Testaferrata Castelletti, 2nd Marquis Testaferrata
Testaferrata Viani (1767-1837), 3rd Baron di Tabria, married 1791 to Rosa
Maria Galea Feriol
2.1.1. Gilberto Testaferrata Viani (1801-??), 4th
Baron di Tabria, married 1826 to Aloisea dei Conti Sceberras
18.104.22.168. Giuseppe Testaferrata Viani (1837-92), 5th Baron di
Tabria, married 1875 to Carmela dei Baroni Galea Feriol, and
22.214.171.124. Maria Angelica Testaferrata Viani (1830-67), married Dr
Pietro Testaferrata Abela Moroni, LL.D
Testaferrata Moroni Abela (c 1866-1911) Baroncino della Tabria, married to
Caroline Barbaro Sant
126.96.36.199.1.1. Pietro Paolo Testaferrata Moroni
Viani (died 1954) Barone Testaferrata, married 1922 to Carmela
188.8.131.52.1.1.1. Barone Salvino Testaferrata Moroni Viani ,
Marquis Testaferrata Moroni Viani (cr:1986), married 1962 to Monika
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11. Christopher Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c
1964- Baroncino Testaferrata, married 1962 to Daniela
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.1. Stephen Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52. Dr Martin Testaferrata Moroni Viani LLD, (c
1969- Marquis Testaferrata Moroni Viani (cr: 1993-
Carmen Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c 1963-67)
Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c 1932-, married 1957 to Jane Borg
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11. Peter Paul Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c 1960-
, married Theresa Vincenti-Kind
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.1. Sarah Testaferrata
Moroni Viani (c 1986-
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.2. Mark Testaferrata Moroni Viani
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.3. Peter Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124. Paul Stephen Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c 1965-,
married Clara Galea
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.1. Luke Testaferrata Moroni Viani
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11. Caroline Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c 1958-,
married Gerald Zammit
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.2. Amanda Zammit
Beatrice Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c 1927-
Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c1923-, married 1948 to Lino Testaferrata
Bonici, 7th Barone della Qlejgha (for descendants see TABLE
126.96.36.199.1.2. Guiseppe Testaferrata Moroni Abela (c 1870-),
188.8.131.52.1.3. Riccardo Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c 1868-)
184.108.40.206.1.4. Rosario Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c 1871-1935), 6th
Barone della Tabria, married 1895 to Maria Mizzi
Violet Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c 1897-1955), 7th Baroness di Tabria,
married 1921 to Marquis John Scicluna
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168. Joseph Scicluna,
(c 1925-, 4th Marquis Scicluna, 9th Barone della Tabria (renounced to
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199. Patrick Scicluna (c 1927-78), 8th
Barone della Tabria, dunm.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206. Marie Corinne Scicluna (c
1923-, Baronessina della Tabria, married 1947 to Lt Cmdr R.A. Ramsay de
Miniac DSO, RN.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.1. Marie Christine Ramsay de Miniac (c
1948-, married 1974 to Umberto Pergola
Corinne Pergola (c 1979-
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199. Maria Angela Scicluna (c
1924-, married Alan Marshall
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1. Marcus Scicluna
Marshall (c 1956-, de Jure Marquis Scicluna, married 1975 to Marion La
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.1.1. Marcus Scicluna Marshall Marquis [see Foreign
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.1.2. Mathew Scicluna
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1.3. Luke Scicluna Marshall (c
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.2. Romina Marshall (c 1959-, married 1985 to
22.214.171.124.1.4.2. Beatrice Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c
126.96.36.199.1.4.3. Clovina Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c
188.8.131.52.1.4.4. Mary Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c
184.108.40.206.1.5. Laura Testaferrata Moroni Viani (c
220.127.116.11.2. (third marriage) Francesco Testaferrata Abela , 6th
Barone di Gomerino, dunm
18.104.22.168.3. Ettore Testaferrata Abela, married
Maria Anderson, dsp.
22.214.171.124.4. Augusto Testaferrata Abela (c 1823-85),
7th Barone della Gomerino, married 1850 to Angelica dei Conti Tagliaferro
(See Barony di Gomerino)
2.2. Lorenzo Testaferrata (1770-??), married
Angela Attard, with issue
2.3. Filippo Testaferrata, (1774-1821), 3rd
Marquis 'Testaferrata', married 1807 to Vincenza Falanca
Antonio Testaferrata (1805-51), 4th Marquis 'Testaferrata', married 1822
to Maria Teresa Cassar Desain
126.96.36.199. Filippo Giacomo Testaferrata
(Later change surname to Cassar Desain), 5th Marquis 'Testaferrata'
(1826-66), married 1848 to Veneranda dei Marchesi de Piro
Lorenzo Antonio Cassar de Sain (1851-1886), 7th Marquis Cassar de Sain,
married 1872 to Camilla Slythe
188.8.131.52.1.1. Richard George Cassar de
Sain (1880-1927), 9th Marquis Cassar de Sain, married 1905 to Mary
184.108.40.206.1.1.1. James George Cassar de Sain
(1907-58), 10th Marquis Cassar de Sain, married with issue (See Cassar de
220.127.116.11.1.1.2. Mary dei Marchesi Cassar de Sain (1916- , married
1939 to Albert Falzon Sant Manduca
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124. Alfred Falzon Sant
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52. Lilianina Falzon Sant Manduca
(1940-2000), 10th Baroness di Tabria, married 1963 to John
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.1. Philip Bugeja Viani (1964-, 11th Baron di
Tabria, married Margaret Gatt
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.2. James Bugeja Viani
(1967- , married Lara dei Conti Strickland Bologna
Mary Anne Bugeja Viani (1974-
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52. Alberta Falzon Sant
Manduca (1945-, married 1970 to Joseph Camilleri
Christian Camilleri (1971-
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.2. Rachel Camilleri
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.3. Lisa Camilleri (1983-
This is the
information regarding the Scicluna family and current holders of the Tabria
* John A.
Scicluna, (1903-70), 2nd Marquis Scicluna, 3rd Marchese
Scicluna of the Holy Roman Empire married
1921 to Mary
Violet Testaferrata Moroni Viani, Baroness of Tabria,
Joseph Scicluna, (1925-1995), 3rd
Scicluna, (1927-1978), Baron of Tabria-
(Tabria nomination) *1.
Corinne Scicluna, (1923-2007), Baroness of Tabria, married 1947 to
Lt. Cmdr Robert Ramsay de Miniac, R.N. with issue.
3.1. Marie Christine
Ramsay de Miniac, (1948 -, Baroness of Tabria, married 1974 to
Umberto Pergola, with issue - current Title Holder.
3.1.1. Justine Corinne Melita Pergola, (1979 - Baronessina
4. Maria Angela Scicluna (1924-, married Alan Marshall,
Scicluna Marshall, 4th Marquis Scicluna, married 1975 to Marion Lapira,
4.1.1. Marcus Scicluna Marshall. (1975-, Marchesino
Scicluna Foreign Title re-grant by the Pope.
4.1.3. Luke Marshall, (1985-
4.2. Romina Marshall,
(1959-, married 1985 (Div) to Charles Alan Short.
Note *1: Patrick Scicluna is noted as having been
‘nominated’ in the title of Baron of Tabria (last invested in the family of
Testaferrata Viani in 1784).
THERE ARE ANY UPDATES TO ANY TREES, PLEASE SEND AN EMAIL TO '[email protected] or [email protected] '
stating site you seen the genealogical tree and
References: 1) Gauci,C.A.," The Genealogy and
Heraldry of the Noble Families of Malta", Gulf Publishing Ltd, Malta,
2) Gauci,C.A.," The Genealogy and Heraldry of the Noble Families
of Malta, Volume Two", Publishers Enterprises Group (PEG) Ltd, 1992.
Gauci,C.A and Mallet, P.,"The Palaeologos Family- A Genealogical Review"
,Publishers Enterprises Group (PEG) Ltd, 1985
4) Gauci, C.A.," A Guide
to the Maltese Nobility", Publishers Enterprise Group (PEG) Ltd, Malta,
5) Montalto, J., "The Nobles of Malta-1530-1800", Midsea Books
Ltd, Malta, 1980.
6) De Piro, N., "Casa Rocco Piccola", The Conde' Nast
Publications 1999.' Http://www.vol.net.mt/casarocca '
7) Giles Ash, S.,
"The Nobility of Malta", Publishers Enterprises Group (PEG) Ltd,
8) Said Vassallo, C.M., Unpublished research papers.
Vassallo, C.M., Maltagenealogy.com Research site.
Marquis Giuseppe Testaferrata Viani (senior) was the third and last person
to have been formally invested in the 1728 title of Baron Viani of Tabria.
the 1784 investiture, and order of primogeniture, succession is reckoned as
follows: Isidoro Viani, (1st Baron), Gio Batta Viani (2nd),
Giuseppe Testaferrata Viani (3rd), Gilberto Testaferrata Viani (4th),
Giuseppe Testaferrata Viani (5th), Salvatore Testaferrata Moroni
Viani (6th), Pietro Paolo Testaferrata Moroni Viani (7th),
Salvino Testaferrata Moroni Viani (8th).
appears that the Marchese Giuseppe (3rd) “donated” the
title of Tabria to his younger son Mario (4th, succeeding by
‘donation’) by virtue of a deed in the acts of Notary Lorenzo Antonio
Azzopardi of the 16th June 1834. Published sources do not make any
reference to this transaction:- this is probably because of the principle that
private transactions regarding titles of nobility are null and void (See notes
the other hand, Giuseppe Testaferrata Viani (5th) is noted as having
‘nominated’ this title to his younger nephew Rosario Testaferrata Moroni
Viani (6th Baron, succeeding ‘by nomination’). This private
transaction was upheld as valid by a judgment dated 4 October 1894 (Testaferrata
Moroni Viani vs Testaferrata Moroni Viani).
this private transaction, supplemented by the aforesaid judgment ,
ulterior enumeration is as
follows: Mary Violet Scicluna (7th, following a ‘nomination’ in
favour of Rosario), Patrick Scicluna (8th Baron, younger son of Mary
Violet ‘by nomination’).
said Patrick Scicluna is also noted as having died in 1978 without nominating a
successor and that in 1983 this title was ‘brought out of abeyance’ in
favour of his elder brother Joseph Scicluna (9th Baron, ‘brought
out of abeyance’), who in turn passed the title by means of a deed made
in the acts of Notary Jeanette Laferla Saliba of the 14 January 1985 n to a
kinswoman Lilianina Bugeja nee Falzon Sant Manduca (‘by a transfer inter
vivos, and ratification”) and that this transaction was ‘ratified’ by
the Committee of Privileges 25th July 1985. According to Maltese media reports,
Bugeja died, also without having made a nomination, and the title was
‘awarded’ to the Sciclunas’ sister Corinne Ramsay. Some court cases were
instigated both by Bugeja’s son Philip as well as Ramsay and her daughter
Christianne. ( Judgment
link - courtcase
link this is a link to Maltagenealogy ).
During the court cases
it resulted that Joseph Scicluna had also made a will in favour of Lilianina
Bugeja. However, in each case the Maltese Courts declared themselves to have no
jurisdiction to hear such matters because Malta had legislated in 1975 (Act XXIX
of 1975) against recognition of nobiliary titles in any form whatsoever.
Charles Said Vassallo - Maltagenealogy